BANDON — Score another one for Bandon’s defense. And for resilience.
The Bandon boys basketball team held off Coquille 44-36 on Saturday morning to firm up their spot in second place in the Sunset Conference. It was the Tigers’ second day in a row with a win over one of the league’s better teams after a humbling loss to Toledo on Thursday that was Bandon’s first defeat of the season.
“I’m proud of them for coming out after getting their butts handed to them by Toledo,” Bandon coach Vince Quattrocchi said. “To come back and win back-to-back games says a lot.”
Bandon’s win was sparked by a defense that was active and feasted on opportunistic turnovers by getting hands in passing lanes leading to breakaway layins, while at the same time making Coquille work extra hard for quality shots.
The Tigers also beat the Red Devils to most of the loose balls and got a majority of the rebounds, even off their missed free throws (foul shooting was maybe the one thing Bandon did least well in the victory, hitting just four of 15 attempts).
“Bandon played great,” Coquille coach Willy Layton said. “Those guys came to play.
“I thought we played good defense. We stopped them and then we’d make a stupid pass and give it right back to them.”
One key momentum-shifting sequence came at the end of the first half. The Red Devils had the ball trailing by one and milking the clock down for a last shot that would either give them the lead or keep the deficit at a single point.
Instead, an unforced turnover gave the ball to Bandon. And then the Red Devils played great defense, but Bandon’s Owen Brown threw up a shot with his off hand at the buzzer that somehow found the net and gave the Tigers a 23-20 lead at the break.
And Coquille only managed five points in the third quarter, sticking with the number 25 on the scoreboard for several minutes bridging the final two quarters.
“The third quarter we came out flat,” Layton said.
Once Bandon got the lead up to double digits, Coquille wasn’t able to threaten over the closing stretch.
The Red Devils, who were coming off a nonleague loss to Douglas a day earlier and a win at Gold Beach on Thursday, have just two league losses. But both are to the Tigers, giving Bandon a tiebreaker if they somehow end up tied.
And Coquille was set to host defending champion Toledo on Monday, with only Sunday — graduation day for senior starters Julien Temps, Jaden Sperling, Jace Haagen and Cort McKinley — separating the two big games.
Sperling and Temps helped the Red Devils to a good start Saturday, with Sperling hitting a pair of 3-pointers and Temps another as Coquille led 11-8 through one quarter.
Coquille eventually finished with eight 3-pointers in the game, but never got anything going inside against Bandon’s defense (the Red Devils had just four two-point baskets).
Temps finished with 12 points and Sperling eight. McKinley and Haagen, though, combined for just nine more — two 3-pointers by McKinley in the fourth and one by Haagen in the second.
Bandon, meanwhile, did most of its damage inside, on fast-break hoops, rebound baskets or drives.
Brown had 14 points, Cooper Lang nine and Trevor Angove eight.
Angove and Brown caused the most problems for Coquille with their pressure outside.
“The key to our success in playing basketball is getting those two guys up top creating havoc and getting transition,” Quattrocchi said.
The team’s overall defense is getting better, too, he said.
Bandon showed great resilience after Toledo hammered the Tigers 65-33 on Thursday.
In that game, Angove scored 11 points and Luke Brown had seven, but Bandon couldn’t keep up with the Boomers, who got 21 points from Kellen Howard, 16 from Mason McAlpine and 12 from Gunner Rothenberger.
“We couldn’t handle the press very well and turned the ball over too much,” Quattrocchi said. “Toledo seemed to not skip a beat defensively from last year.”
But Bandon bounced back Friday against Myrtle Point, which nearly beat them earlier this year in Bandon (the Tigers had to rally from a five-point deficit in the final four minutes).
Bandon jumped out to a 25-10 lead in Myrtle Point, but the Bobcats tied the score at 30 before the Tigers finished on a 12-1 run for a 42-31 win as Angove scored 12 points and Lang 11. Gabe Swan and Carson Bradford had eight each for Myrtle Point.
Coquille, meanwhile, lost to Douglas 61-50. Temps scored 13 in that setback for the Red Devils.
In a 67-50 win at Gold Beach, Howard Blanton had 15 points, Temps 12, Haagen 10 and Hunter Layton eight.
Willy Layton kept a positive outlook.
“It’s not over,” he said. “We’ve still got games and we’re still learning.”